Biblical Reflections on Modern Medicine
Vol. 5, No. 6 (30)
That Too Many Children Have Died?
Most of this newsletter concerns the ethics of the killing of the abortionist and his escort by Paul Hill in Pensacola, July 29, 1994. It is not a subject to increase readership. New subscribers will see this issue of Reflections as their first. They may be so shocked that they don't hear anything in subsequent issues or they may cancel before I have a real chance to discuss other topics.
However, real life is often the best way to think through and learn to be consistent in our Biblical ethics. Regardless of one's position on Paul Hill's act, that is the challenge. The God of love of the New Testament is the same God of wrath in the Old Testament. The Jesus who invited the children to come to Him is the same Jesus who threw the moneychangers out of the Temple and who will consign unbelievers to Hell forever.
These contrasts illustrate my frequent call for a systematic and comprehensive approach to Biblical ethics. As a system is formed, inconsistencies become apparent and force one to think further to resolve the apparent impasses. Properly understood, there can be no contradictions in Biblical ethics or else God would contradict Himself - an impossibility.
Too often we gloss over the sharper edges of the omnipotent God Whom we claim to know. The issue of killing abortionists divides the hawks (just-war, self-defense, and capital punishment advocates) and doves (pacifists). It divides dispensationalists (God's plan differs for His people in different ages or dispensations) from the Reformed (the Old and New Testaments are unified for God's people for all times). Further, those with spiritual gifts of mercy and service tend to be more tolerant than those with teaching and discernment. (See "Why We Differ," p.6.)
While these dividing lines are not absolute (and maybe not even common), they are helpful to understand the different emphases that we place on this issue and others.
Frankly, before I actually wrote my response to the Letters-to-Ed that I received, I was not sure where I would settle on the issue. I read all the letters thoroughly, read articles that I already had and those that readers sent, and tried to think through the issues carefully.
I have printed all letters on this subject (except one that strayed too far afield) that I have received by the time of publication. There is a remarkable balance of responses from rejoicing "when the wicked are slain" (Dr. Chin) to the single focus on evangelism of Mr. Brooks. Most are still uncertain on their own stand, as I am also.
Five letters is far from a representative sample of the pro-life* evangelical community. And, my newsletter audience is probably not a representative audience of evangelicals. However, I was surprised at the support voiced for Mr. Hill when he has been denounced by the large majority of pro-life leaders. I suspect that there really is more support for Mr. Hill among "grass roots" pro-lifers than has been voiced by high-profile leaders.
Perhaps, pro-life leaders believe that agreement with Paul Hill's actions would damage the pro-life cause in the long-term. That belief is not unreasonable (although I don't agree - see Letters-to-Ed). However, I hope for more serious reflection on their part than I have seen. Abortion is as evil as the "killing fields" of Cambodia, Stalin's pogram, and Hitler's gas chambers. I wonder whether Paul Hill's actions ought to shock us into the reality of the real evil that is abortion.
* I use the term "pro-life" and "pro-lifer" with deep respect. I value all those who work to restrict and eventually make abortion illegal again. We do not all have to agree in order to love each other and fight together as our consciences lead into our various areas of conflict.
I have a degree in Ministerial Theology, but I don't have all the answers.
Is the use of the word "murders" unintentionally pejorative? When you kill a person who is an imminent threat to innocent life and the police are not able to arrive in time, you are now in the category of justifiable homicide. Illustration: You are driving by a school and you see a gunman open fire on the children playing at recess. You can hit the gunman, run him down with your car. This will injure him or possibly kill him. If you do nothing, the gunman will wound or kill children. What would you do?
Likewise, killing an abortionist on his way to perform abortions certainly protects the innocent, unborn children. Ordinarily, Mr. Hill would have a sound defense under the doctrine of justifiable homicide. But we now live in a country where murder has been legalized and the crime has become interfering with murder!
This is a horrible, Kafkaesque nightmare come to life. The absurd, the unthinkable is now fact.
Would I kill an abortionist? I don't know? Would I, as a juror, convict Mr. Hill of murder? Definitely not!
There is a not-so-apparent tragedy attendant to these killings. The abortionists are now irretrievably consigned to Hell, not being able to repent before their deaths. But how patiently should you evangelize a man who murders daily?
Yours in His Service,
P.S. Re: "Cost of Psychological Treatment." Are you sure about those numbers? 933,339 patients? (Ed - Yes!)
First, when Reflections arrives in the mail, all other reading is set aside and it has first priority. Thank you for the hard work you put into this publication. It has helped me so much.
Being a pro-lifer and director of a Crisis Pregnancy Center, I was interested in "The Pensacola Murders: Where Do You Stand?" in the September issue and would like to share some of my thinking on this.
Make no mistake about it, I abhor the death count! Those 30 million-plus innocent babies (in only the United States - Ed)! However, my reservations regarding Paul Hill are as follows. This man is a person who describes himself as a Christian and a pro-lifer. Jesus told us to look for the fruit of the Spirit in a man's life. If we do this, then this man's description of himself is a misnomer: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Where is the evidence of Christ's Spirit in violent acts such as this? In committing murder, has Mr. Hill forfeited the right to call himself pro-life? As for being a Christian, God will judge.
Someone recently pointed out that if the abortionist, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, had been murdered, the pro-life Dr. Bernard Nathanson would not be around today to speak up for the unborn. If the operator of a lucrative abortion clinic, Carol Everett, had been murdered, the pro-life Christian Carol Everett would not be sounding the warning effectively today. How do we know what God plans to do with a life?
Perhaps it would be different if abortion were forced on everyone, as in China. But that is not the case in the United States--at least not yet!
The position I take is the one taken by the Kings County Crisis Pregnancy Center: provide Biblical counsel to women in crisis pregnancy, share with them the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, show them the miracle of life in the womb and explain to them the terrible risks of abortion (physical, emotional and spiritual), provide practical help as you are able, and leave the results to God. And, yes, shooting abortionists certainly does cast a shadow on all pro-life ministry and, I believe, does nothing to help women contemplating abortion.
I don't want to be dogmatic and presume that I have it all figured out, but for now I'm going to hang on to Romans 12:19, "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord."
As for Acts 5:29, I can't say for certain, but, if taken in context, isn't that verse talking about sharing the Gospel? That if men should command us not to speak it then by all means, "We must obey God rather than men?"
I'm certainly not an expert in these matters and that's why I will look forward to hearing others' opinions in Reflections and seeing how your thinking (dare I say) "evolves" on this issue. Thank you for listening!
In His Service,
Your last issue asked for thoughts concerning the Paul Hill shooting of the abortionist. I have a few.
I) We should rejoice when the wicked are slain.
Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king,
"Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because
of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you." (II Chronicles 19:2)*
The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence His soul hates. (Psalm 11:5)
But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; blood-thirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you. (Psalm 55:23)
The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. (Psalm 58:10)
O LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors. (Psalm 59:5)
For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter, consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more. Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. (Psalm 59:12)
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? (Psalm 139:21)
They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" (Revelation 6:10)
After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants." (Revelation 19:1)
II. There is scriptural precedent for the wicked to be apparently "murdered" by individuals, but with God's blessings. Phinehas killed the fornicating couple (Numbers 25). Jael killed Sisera in his sleep (Judges 4- 5). Note that Jael was not at war with Sisera. Indeed, her husband was an ally of Sisera!
III. To kill in defense of innocent life is acceptable. This is the historic interpretation of the church, and even of secular society. My own feelings (still somewhat in a formative stage) are:
1) I am glad the abortionist was killed, and it would be great if they all were killed. I am sorry that a fellow Christian did it, as I feel compassion for him and his wife and three children. I would have preferred a pagan had done it.
2) If Paul Hill killed to protect innocent lives, it is justifiable homicide. It would have been better had he killed the doctor as the doctor was beginning the procedure, though, in order to remove all doubt as to the doctor's intents that morning.
3) If Mr. Hill felt the Lord leading him in this act, we should give him the benefit of the doubt.
4) The killing may be bad for the pro-life movement in the short run, but in the long run...who knows? God may use these killings to wake up the church, polarize society, and perhaps lead to a split up of the United States into different countries, with Christians in one country and the pagans in the another.
5) Lastly, Isaiah writes "When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness." (Isaiah 26:9)
* Underlines are Dr. Chin's emphases.
Frank Chin, M.D.
In your September issue of Biblical Reflections, you invite comment on the debate over whether or not Christians may use force to save the lives of unborn children. I appreciated that you did not follow the usual (Christian?) formula by condemning Hill for his intervention to save lives. Having said that, I suspect that you know where I stand.
Paul Hill and these shooters of men who kill babies have not committed murder as it is defined in Scripture.
I believe that God has a consistent standard of justice for all of those created in His image.
I believe that you cannot deprive the unborn of the kind of protection that we insist on for the born.
I believe that what we reap we will sow. If we assign a standard of justice for the unborn that is less protective and ultimately violates their right to continue living, we cannot be surprised when we fall victim to the same standard.
I have enclosed a newly released book by Michael Bray. It is not the final word on the issue of Christians and the use of force in protection of the innocent. However it is certainly a good effort to move the debate out of the realm of "sound-bites" and newsletters and into the realm of sound theological debate.
You will find my own opinion on the use of force included in the back of the Bray book under Appendix B (p. 183). (See Book Review, this issue.) If you find that it is in error in any measure that would shift the debate, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Cathy Ramey, Book Editor
It seems to me that even entertaining the notion of justifying the cold-blooded murder of a doctor, let alone an escort, illustrates how far from the heart of the Gospel and into the realm of idolatry the pro-life Christians could stray. Christians should never forget that they are in the Kingdom of God for one reason and one alone: to bring glory and praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and through that glory drawing lost souls to the Savior. Anything less is not worth dying for, let alone killing for.
For the Son of Man came to seek and save, not "search and destroy," the lost. For those who believe so strongly in the pro-life cause on Christian grounds that they are willing to shoot down opponents and bystanders, the question ought to be asked, "Are they Christians who happen to be pro-lifers or pro-lifers who happen to be Christians?" It's a question of ultimate priorities. And do not protest that one may kill out of love of God's violate law. Do not even the Islamic radicals claim as much?
I believe Paul Hill and those who would kill in the name of Christ have done more - at least in the last three months - than anyone else in America to cause the name of God to be blasphemed among the heathen of this land. Let us do everything within the limits of God's grace and active love to stop the murder of the innocents - but let us not also be found to have made an idol out of the unborn, consecrated with the blood of the abortionists. God is not pleased by offerings of "strange fire." Woe to us if we gain the repeal of abortion, and lose our souls' first love.
Steven J. Brooks
First, Mr. Youngblood is correct. I made a mistake when I used the term "murders." That error was a result of poor thinking, not intentionally pejorative or an attempt to sway responses.
Without being too critical, I want to strive for some consistency in my own mind and among our letter writers. One problem is an inconsistency in the pro-life position. Sanctity of life is not an absolute. Many pro-lifers are unbiblical in their opposition to capital punishment. Capital punishment is warranted because God has commanded it as both justice and an example that murder is a severe violation of the sanctity of life (Genesis 9:6).
Further, killing others is sometimes necessary in self-defense and just wars. Killing in self-defense was clearly warranted in the Torah (Exodus 22:2), and has been a legal defense in English and American jurisprudence for centuries. Just wars are simply an extension of self-defense to the level of the state.
Thus, it may surprise Mrs. Clark and other readers, but killing as capital punishment, self-defense, and just wars is consistent with the fruit of the Spirit! If these acts are Biblical, then they are consistent with the most mature Christian character.
Mr. Brooks' focus is too narrow. By logical extension of his argument, we should not be concerned about right and wrong at any level, only evangelism. By further extension, we should not be concerned about earning a living or providing food for our families, only evangelism. No, the Spirit gives a variety of gifts (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4), not just evangelism for the building up of His Body and making disciples of all nations (The Great Commission).
Mrs. Clark's comment that we don't "know what God plans to do with a life" is not relevant. God calls us to make decisions based on our understanding of His Word. The consequences are left in His hands. While I have deep respect for Dr. Nathanson and Mrs. Everett, they are not essential to the pro-life cause. No one is. The other side of her argument is that a murdered abortionist could also have become the next Hitler or Stalin.
Mrs. Clark's comment that only God can "avenge" is also irrelevant. Paul Hill's own defense is that he acted to prevent the murder of unborn children, not to avenge the deaths of those already aborted by Dr. John Britton.
Acts 5:29 does not apply only to the Gospel. If the state required me to do abortions to retain my license to practice medicine, should I do them? Absolutely not!
Another point raised against Paul Hill (mentioned in passing by Mr. Brooks) is the innocence of the escort, also killed. This argument is easily answered. The participant in an armed robbery in which someone is killed is guilty as well. The escort, John Barrett, was armed himself to protect Dr. Britton. Mr. Barrett carries the same guilt as Dr. Britton in forcefully protecting Dr. Britton's right to kill unborn babies.
I am currently struggling with the concept of expediency as we approach the November elections (now past as this newsletter is published). Does one vote for a candidate who is weak or wrong on an important issue (e.g., abortion or fetal experimentation) as the lesser of two evils?
I faced this question in the 1990 election. Should I vote for George Bush, who was obviously weak in many areas, but who had a realistic chance to win, or Howard Phillips, an independent candidate with a platform of solid principles, but who had no chance to win? I voted for Bush and it has left a sour taste of regret in my mouth ever since. Certainly, Paul Hill's actions seem to have hurt the pro-life cause in the court of public opinion, the news media, and certainly the armed response of Janet Reno. However, I am not so sure. As I said, I am now convinced that there is more grass roots support of Paul Hill than was apparent before. Further, did the killings convert one person who was pro-life to pro-choice or vice versa? I don't think so.
The news media are certainly no allies of the pro-life cause either. Janet Reno and Bill Clinton are rabidly pro-abortion. So, what was really lost by Paul Hill's actions? Not much, if anything.
There may be another problem here. In spite of the massive pro-life movement in its mosaic of people and causes, just how strong is our antipathy towards abortion? Many have railed at citizens and leaders who failed to act against Nazi Germany with its gas chambers and other atrocities. Has the pro-life cause demonstrated a comparative resistance against abortion that many demanded of the German people under Hitler?
Make no mistake about it. Bill Clinton and Janet Reno are every bit as murderous as Hitler. They just face more obstacles in American legislation and jurisprudence (for all their faults) than Hitler did. But, given opportunity, they would eliminate every opposition to their programs in the same forceful manner as other heinous totalitarians.
An argument can be made that violent acts have done more to restrict abortion than peaceful ones. Some abortuaries that were destroyed by fire-bombings have never re-opened. Many have never opened in the first place because of unaffordable or unavailable insurance on the buildings and employees. What effects are Paul Hill, David Gunn, and perhaps others going to have on abortionists and abortuaries? No one knows, but their acts should not be casually discounted.
A glaring example of too much softness among pro-lifers is their soft approach toward mothers who abort. Few, if any mothers, are forced into abortions in the United States. Every abortion takes a willing mother. She is placing her baby on the altar of personal worship. She is shaking her fist in the face of God, Who planned and created that little life. The Torah called for the death penalty for offering children to Molech (Leviticus 20:1ff). Such a mother has taken her captive child to the executioner. She is guilty.
Soft-sell evangelism has produced churches full of tares and sickly Christians. Perhaps, coddling of murderous moms has produced a sickly pro-life message.
Mr. Youngblood's scenario of the gunman shooting children is appropriate. Few would condemn the driver who ran down the gunman. Most would honor the driver. We have covered adequate Scripture to defend that action. English and American law would also support it.
The problem for me, and it seems, many others, is whether I have a duty to act. The driver who did not run down the gunman would not violate any law, but would likely experience guilt over his failure to act. Many observers, no doubt, would say that the driver should have acted. This analogy breaks down in that immediate action is not required to stop the abortionist. Its support is also broken down in that American jurisprudence is not what it has been relative to this issue. If it were, the abortionist would still be acting illegally. One who stops the baby-killer would be stopping a capital crime. However, one's duty in that situation is still to inform the authorities so that they can intervene, unless one comes across the situation inadvertently.
Thus, today, I would be acting as a vigilante, if I killed an abortionist. My crime is acting against the state. Vigilante justice is fraught with difficulties. It destroys law and order. On that basis, it cannot be condoned without the agreement of a properly constituted government authority. Violation of law and order is also inconsistent with God's character.
The individual decision to kill an abortionist, then, breaks man's law. While a person may justify his actions before God, he is guilty of breaking man's law and must be tried under man's law. However, as a jurist I have the power to vote his innocence.
John Calvin proposed the concept of the lesser magistrate overturning (by force, if necessary) a higher magistrate. Several states today (Colorado, for example) are recognizing the need to restrict the federal government's power to impose regulations that restrict the freedoms of the state's citizen's and increase their taxes. Many theologians and lawyers recognize the Biblical legitimacy of Calvin's proposition.
The Biblical concept of authority is that it is granted to rulers by God through the people. The restriction that only a duly elected (or appointed under a duly elected government) official or body (magistrate) may restrict a higher official or body provides a protection against abuse and prevents the need for vigilantism.
A duly appointed jury is an extension of the magistrate and even has the power to declare a law invalid simply because it is a bad law! Of course, judges and lawyers do not want juries to know this established principle of American jurisprudence.
The degeneracy of our society is evident by the paucity of pro-life magistrates. Even worse, there are insufficient pro-life citizens to elect magistrates at any level who is willing to stand against abortion. While we may rail against pro-abortion officials, the citizenry of the United States carries a worse guilt for electing them.
Thus, the killing of an abortionist may be morally justified and at the same time, an illegal act that is punishable by law. On this basis, a jury might find Paul Hill innocent of murder because he was tried under an immoral law that does not allow self-defense of innocent victims. This situation is highly unlikely from our current citizenry.
Further, such decisions are not made in a vacuum. A father must provide for his family (I Timothy 5:8) and raise his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). An act that would prevent fulfillment of those responsibilities would negate any moral justification inherent in the decision.
I welcome responses that agree or differ. However, unless I have omitted a huge blind spot, I will not devote a large portion of any subsequent issue of Reflections to this subject. I will likely print portions of letters to denote substantive agreement or disagreement or to principles not mentioned here. We must move on to other issues.
Note: The following was written circa 1983 for my first book, Biblical/Medical Ethics. The editor decided not to print this material and omitted it from the published edition. I publish it now in light of our differences over the Paul Hill killings.
Why do Christians differ and often differ markedly in their understanding of the Bible and Biblical ethics. Consider.
1) Church experience. Some grew up in a church, but others were converted much later. The depth and experience of preaching and teaching in churches varies greatly.
2) Personality. Some people are naturally studious and reflective while others are more activity oriented.
3) Biblical knowledge. Biblical knowledge is gained through personal study, preaching/teaching in local churches, Bible school/seminary training, and discipling.
4) Life experience. Exposure to a variety of life experiences tests and refines (sometimes destroys) one's beliefs.
5) Time of conversion. Obviously, there is a correlation between the time of one's conversion and his knowledge and experience. The younger a Christian is (in his spiritual life), the less opportunity to grow and learn.
6) Spiritual gifts. Those whose gifts are primarily "helps" (e.g., evangelism, serving, giving, and mercy) are usually more tolerant and compassionate. Those whose gifts are "knowledge" (wisdom, teaching, discernment, preaching, and exhortation) are usually more discerning and less tolerant. (Remember, Paul said that none are more important than the others - I Corinthians 12.)
7) Knowledge of church history and theology. Too many Christian mavericks exist today, totally ignoring the wealth of experience and knowledge of the past. While error did exist in the past, one is on thin ice to differ from the major Biblical theologies of the past.
Many other reasons for differences could be named. I would offer two conclusions from this list. First, the fact that we ever agree on anything is amazing! The fact that there is so much agreement within defined part of Christendom is miraculous (the work of the Holy Spirit). I rejoice when I find that Biblical scholars have come to the same conclusions as my own study.
Second, those of us who are called to teach must also realize the seriousness of our differences. There is only one right answer! When two people differ, only one may be right, but both can be wrong! (The right answer may differ from that of both of them.) Let us be sure that our differences are for solid and studied reasons.
For an excellent and more thorough discussion on the subject of a forceful response to abortion, read A Time to Kill, by Michael Bray. The author was imprisoned for four years "following the destruction of seven abortion facilities in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware."
Rev. Bray presents a reasoned, Biblical, and historical argument. Some of his conclusions may surprise you, as they did me. For example, one of his answers to the question, "Are you advocating the murder of (abortion) doctors?," is "(We stop) short of advocating the slaying of government-approved childkillers." Still, "The slaying (of the same) is justifiable. We do not know the best strategy to resist the evil of "abortion." But we cannot condemn that forceful, even lethal, action which is applied for the purpose of saving innocent children."
I highly recommend the book, not because of its answers, but because of its thorough scholarship and challenge to a consistency in our Biblical ethics. It is available from Reformation Press, 2972 Tarragon Ln., Bowie, MD 20715, for $10.00 postpaid.
Vol. 8, No. 6 (55) November 1994
There were 106,949 cases of AIDS reported to the Centers for Disease Control in 1993. (Strangely, this data was published in August 1994!) Of these, 959 were children (under 13 years of age). Of the adult cases (105,990), 49,963 (47%) occurred in homosexuals, 29,399 (28%) in IV-drug abusers, 6,098 (6%) in homosexuals who also abuse IV drugs, 1,096 (1%) in hemophiliacs, 9,570 (9%) by "heterosexual" contact, 1,215 (1%) by blood transfusion, and 8,649 (8%) designated as "Other."
Commentary: The "heterosexual" category includes sex with IV-drug user, with bisexual male, with hemophiliac, with a transfusion recipient with HIV infection, or with an HIV-infected person (risk not specified). Note that these are extremely high risk (for HIV) encounters. "Other" cases are mostly those which have been incompletely investigated. When completed, they generally break down into similar proportions to the known categories.
Thus, 98% (47 + 28 + 6 + 9 + 8) of reported AIDS cases occur in people engaging in extremely high risk sexual or drug activities. By the CDC's own numbers, there is no significant infection outside from these categories. There is no true heterosexual spread, that is, AIDS cases from heterosexual transmission outside these high-risk groups.
Most of the cases reported for hemophiliacs and blood transfusions were infected before blood screens were started in 1984. There have been 29 cases of AIDS from HIV-infected blood since 1984.
In the first six months of 1994, 40,585 cases of AIDS were reported. There will be fewer than that reported in the latter half of 1994! The total numbers of AIDS cases reported since the "epidemic" began in 1981 is 401,749.
Commentary: Remember that the definition was changed for the third time, beginning with statistics for 1993. Thus, there was a marked jump in the number of AIDS cases for 1993 because tens of thousands of HIV-infected people were brought under this new definition. Its effect will lessen over time, as already seen in the decreased numbers for the first half of 1994.
Prediction: The total number of people in the United States infected with HIV is now estimated between 500,000 and 1 million. This number has been revised downward from a high of 1.5 million. As reported above, reported AIDS cases now number 401,749, which is a large proportion (40-80%) of the estimated population.
That is, the "pool" of HIV infections progressing to AIDS is becoming smaller. With this new definition, some 70,000-80,000 more cases will be "drained" from this "pool" in 1994. New HIV infections have been estimated at 40,000-50,000 per year. Those in the "pool" are not being replaced at the rate for which they are being reported with AIDS.
Within the next 3 years, there will be a decline in newly reported AIDS cases. That decrease has already been seen with the "old" definitions. Under the pre-1987 definition, there was a 23% decrease in AIDS cases initially reported in 1992 compared to those initially reported in 1993. Under the 1987 definition, there was a 25% decrease. If the numbers for the first 6 months of 1994 continue for the full 12 months (and almost surely will be less), then there will be a corresponding decrease under the 1993 definition.
The explanation for this marked drop will be the large numbers brought in when the 1993 definition was implemented. The CDC has won in two ways with this definition change. First, they report a staggering increase in AIDS cases for 1993 with a footnote that most of these are newly defined, not truly new cases. Then, when the numbers fall as percent decrease, they can report that this is only a statistical aberration because of the loss of initial numbers under the 1993 definition.
These numbers are all present in the CDC's official HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, but what is reported in the news media is not as carefully laid out. There, statistics are presented only to buttress the notion of an expanding epidemic when it is really decreasing. In the sense that homosexuals, IV-drug abusers, and promiscuous heterosexuals have severe diseases and often die at young ages apart from being infected with AIDS, there is no AIDS epidemic -- only a continuing epidemic of promiscuous sex and drug abuse.
There is also the need to continue the thousands of jobs and huge bureaucracy that the AIDS scare has created. "Follow the money trail" is a modern version of "the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil" (I Timothy 6:10, NASB). The love of money is no less evident in the scientific world, making its "science" that much more biased and difficult to interpret.
"In its first year, the Clinton administration boosted research funding for AIDS by 21% overall.... AIDS research now accounts for 12% of the National Institutes of Health's $11 billion budget." (American Medical News, September 12, 1994, p. 3)
In 1991 and 1992, AIDS accounted for 40,000 deaths, or 2% of a total of 2 million deaths in the United States. At most, 1 million people infected with HIV are 0.4% of the population.
Commentary: The political correctness of AIDS is evident here. A disease preventable by simply living a moral life is favored over all other diseases which are not so preventable, nor so clearly associated with immorality.
The lawsuit launched by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) against Hillary Clinton's Health Care Task Force (HCTF) has scored in Federal Court! Their lawyer, Thomas Spencer, has said that the ultimate results could make the Whitewater mess look like a "speeding ticket."
AAPS is a 50+ year-old organization of physicians and surgeons with about 1/100th the membership of the American Medical Association (AMA), but over the years has done 100 times the work of the AMA to restrict government intrusion in medicine.
The AAPS launched their lawsuit, AAPS v. Clinton, over the secrecy of the HCTF, a procedure not allowed under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) which requires certain disclosures of committees working under or for the federal government. In their hopes to escape this lawsuit, Clinton administration officials released dozens of boxes of records from the HCTF.
But, they released too much! Dates and other information in these records differed from statements that the administration had made under oath in Federal Court. These discrepancies are likely to result in sanctions against administration officials more severe than what would have occurred under the original lawsuit!
In other words, while trying to comply with the law that they avoided in the first place, they got themselves in deeper trouble for defending their original actions.
Huge kudos go to AAPS. It is another rare occurrence of David slaying Goliath.
You may also enjoy the fact that the administration lawyers selected the term "amorphous horde" to describe the HCTF to avoid all other terms that might inculcate them under FACA. There's more that a small amount of just irony in that term and their own incompetency that got them in deeper trouble than they were in the first place.
An owner of a business sued his insurance company under the Americans with Disabilities Act and won! Ronald Senter, a patient with AIDS, had his insurance for AIDS-related problems capped at $25,000 by Automotive Wholesalers of New England Health Benefits Plan. Since he could not sue himself as the owner of Carparts Distribution Center, he sued Automotive. He lost in a lower court, but won in a federal appeals court. (Chicago Tribune, October 19, 1994, Section 1, p. 8)
Commentary: This ruling is bizarre! But, it is also portends the future for the insurance industry. While the Clintons' health-care plan failed, there are ongoing changes in insurance regulations at both the state and federal levels to make insurers cover more and more while at the same time restricting their ability to make corresponding increases.
Almost everyone sees insurers as deep pockets that should insure people with pre-existing conditions and have no caps on any treatments. Well, dear readers, that pocket has a bottom. I believe that we are fast approaching it. With the law courts and the court of public opinion increasingly holding no one responsible for their own behavior or financial planning, insurers are having to pay out more and more. At the same time, they are being restricted from raising their prices.
Obviously, I do not condone everything that the insurance industry does or has done. However, every policy holder signs a contract at the time that he insures. But, the holders want more than the contract agrees to. For example, who would deny a bone marrow transplant that is the "only hope" for a cute little child with leukemia?
I am not an expert on insurance. (Perhaps, some reader is and will write to comment.) Nevertheless, all wells eventually run dry when sucked too vigorously. As evidence of things to come, insurance rates have sky rocketed in recent years. However, there will come a point beyond which buyers will not pay or insurers will run out of money. If current trends continue, that day will surely come.
Examine yourself. Have you been one to call for the "dirty" or wealthy insurers to cover pre-existing conditions or extend benefits for the heart rending case presented in the news? If so, please re-think. If you are an advocate of the free market and less government intervention, you are inconsistent. Insurance is a well-defined contract for both parties. The old aphorism applies: "Hard (heart-rending, especially in children) cases make bad law." If contracts are not honored both morally and legally, society and law no longer have a structure sufficient to hold them together.
1) Often, we recoil at the phrase, "Might makes right." No doubt many Nazis believed that statement. Certainly, Joseph Stalin and Karl Marx believed it. A recent Supreme Court Justice (Oliver Wendell Holmes, I think) believed it. The expression implies that right and wrong can be determined by the power to enforce one's rules.
Where does the greatest might in the universe reside? Nay, where does "all might" exist? All might exists in God Himself. If He were not omnipotent, absolute right and wrong could not exist. If He were not Almighty, there would indeed only be competing claims of right and wrong. Further, there could be no expectation of justice for anyone, anywhere, at any time!
2) We recoil at ethics that are only subjective. They shift with feelings, moods, people, and nations. However, ultimate objectivity exists in a Person, a Subject. So, ultimately objectivity and subjectivity are One.
3) As Christians, we recoil at the phrase, "There are no absolutes." However, the statement contradicts itself, as its own truth requires that it be an absolute. The converse is, "There is at least one absolute in the universe." Of course, Christians know Who that Absolute is.
4) Omniscience and omnipresence requires omnipotence and vice versa. If any place or any concept could not be known to God, then whatever prevented His being or knowing would be more powerful than Himself.
I may be boring some, but I am fascinated that such foundations of philosophy and ethics ultimately and inevitably lead to, and reside in, God's character.
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